Main image via The Star
With the July 12 deadline for e-hailing drivers to obtain their Public Service Vehicle (PSV) license drawing near, the future of the e-hailing ride industry seems uncertain.
On one hand, e-hailing driver associations predict that there will be higher fares and longer wait times due to a supply shock resulting from fewer drivers qualifying for the PSV license. According to the Transport Ministry, only 10,151 drivers have qualified for the PSV license thus far.
In a report by The Star, Malaysian E-hailing Drivers Association (MeHDA) president Daryl Chong said:
We will see fewer drivers when the deadline comes because many part-timers are opting out; plus many other drivers are still not PSV-ready. Passengers will have to wait longer because the distance between them and the drivers will be much further.
However, Daryl anticipates the conditions will improve later in the year when the drivers are more prepared for the PSV license, and he also suggests the possibility of e-hailing companies absorbing the additional costs to offset the supply shock.
Some economists feel more confident that prices will not increase since the foundation of e-hailing rides is built upon affordability. Sunway University economics professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng echoes this sentiment, saying:
If they hike up their prices, they will lose their market share. It would not be in their interest to do so.
In another report by The Star, an unnamed economist surmises that taxi drivers are able to fill in the gaps as they too are part of the e-hailing platform, thus keeping the industry competitively priced. Ultimately, the economists agree that this initiative by the government levels the playing field for taxi drivers and presents them a good opportunity to grow their customer base.
Whatever it is, it seems like some big changes are coming.
Will you consider alternatives to e-hailing rides if the prices and services are affected?